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Incidence and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second most rampant cancer in women, the third most common for men, and the third most widespread cancer in the world.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include consumption of processed meat, sedentary life, low consumption of fiber or calcium, excess body weight, aging, smoking, and consumption of alcohol.

Colorectal cancer is asymptomatic in the initial stages. Adenomatous polyps (pre-cancerous polyps) appear on the inner lining of the colon or rectum in the glandular cells. The adenomatous polyp spreads past the mucosa layer of the colon to the outer wall of the rectal wall or colon.

It then spreads to the lymph nodes via lymph vessels and blood vessels. However, to treat colorectal cancer,oncologists remove the adenomatous polyp.

The most common symptoms of the disease in the initial stages include:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent changes in bowel habits
  • Abdominal discomfort and pain

Testing for Colorectal Cancer

Flexible sigmoidoscopes and fecal immunochemical test (FIT) are the main tests for colorectal cancer. Patients proceed with colonoscopy only if the two tests show some abnormalities.

Unfortunately, FIT may give false-positive results because of conditions, such as hemorrhoids and inflammation. The erroneous results account for 25% of test outcomes.

These false test outcomes increase anxiety in patients, lead to unnecessary time and financial costs, pointless colonoscopes, and a diminished quality of life.

Positive strides

The Colorectal cancer mortality rate has been on the decline. Early screening and acceptance of the disease have led to a reduction in the deaths. 

Early detection increases the chance of recovery from cancer. Surgery to remove the cancerous polyps is the best treatment if the cancer is detected early. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biological therapies, and immunotherapy are common treatments if the cancer is in the late stages.

Five percent of colorectal cancer patients have hereditary lynch syndrome. The disease leads to tumors that mutate and are receptive to immunotherapy drugs. Fortunately, there is ongoing research on the development of a vaccine that protects lynch syndrome patients from the appearance of cancerous tumors.

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